‘But I bought it in a French antiques store, I paid five hundred for it’, pleaded the woman of the older couple dressed as if they had fallen from an Edwardian picture postcard. The onlookers looked on embarrassed for this obviously respectable couple. The Antiques Roadshow appraiser of antiques stood with bowed head in silence not wishing to add to the couple’s embarrassment. The wife with the powdered face and antique lace hair-net was not giving up easily.
‘This is genuine French antique’, she pleaded with a raided voice that was now bordering on shrill, ‘We bought it while we were on our honeymoon in antique stores in Versailles fifty years ago’. It had now become a collective buying decision. The blame shift was obvious to those near enough to hear and certainly to the antiques appraiser.
The lady appraiser of antiques was hoping some of the production team from The Antiques Roadshow would intervene but nobody rode to her rescue. She reached out and put her hand gently on the fur trimmed sleeve of the irate ladies coat.
‘ I am sorry but as I said this is a reproduction of an antique, it was ‘aged’ by unscrupulous people and then sold to unsuspecting people like you who were very honest and too young to have the knowledge to see it was a fake’, gently reasoned the appraiser in her most reassuring voice.
‘She said we were stupid’, the lady in the hairnet address this to her husband who stood with hunched shoulders and a look of resignation on his care worn concerned face.
’Dear, it was a long time ago, perhaps we should just forget about it and accept what this nice woman tells us, it is not an antique, the antiques store is to blame so let’s go home’, pleaded the suffering man as he looked at her with loving soft eyes.
‘It is your fault, you and your , ‘we must buy a nice French antique as a reminder of our honeymoon’, well this is where another of your stupid ideas have got us’, the woman in the net wagged her head and shoulders as she quoted her embarrassed husband in an even more shrill voice which bordered on a scream.
‘It wasn’t even your money, it was my daddy’s money you spent on that worthless French Antique’, continued the woman in the net. ‘Daddy was right, you were a fake, a pretender, an imitator of a real man’, screamed the woman at her now very pale and downcast husband. ‘All we had that we cherished after fifty years was that now worthless antique,’ she poked him in the chest with her bone like finger.
‘A fake for a fake, it was to be the start of a great collection of French antiques, you said, an heirloom for out children,’ she continued to poke him even harder. The Antiques roadshow Antiques appraiser was between two minds, ‘should she interfere in this now domestic row or should she just quietly slip into the crowd’. ‘Well now we have no French Antiques and we certainly have no children, you were a fake there too’. The lady in the net was crying now and her pokes were devoid of energy just open handed pats against the flat of his chest.
He reached for her shoulders and gently pulled the lady in the net into his embrace. He kissed the top of her head and turned her away from The Antiques Roadshow appraiser of antiques. She gestured to the worthless example of fake French Antiques that lay almost forgotten on the green blaze of the antique card table. He waved it away with a flick of his wrist saying, ‘Give it to charity, we have forgotten about it already, our son is waiting in the car for us.’
Reality dawned on the antiques appraiser and on the near faces in the crowd. ‘Could I not have pretended, just this once’, silently The Antiques Roadshow antiques appraiser admonished herself with sad tears in her eyes.